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State of the Union

Interview With Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell; Interview With Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson; Interview With Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA). Aired 9-10a ET

Aired June 07, 2020 - 09:00   ET




JAKE TAPPER, CNN HOST (voice-over): Call for change. Thousands of peaceful protesters take to the streets and demand to be heard. Is their message reaching our leaders?

I will speak to Housing and Urban Development Secretary Dr. Ben Carson in moments.

And law and order. President Trump threatens to dominate U.S. cities with military force.

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Stop the violence and restore security and safety in America.

TAPPER: His response prompts stunning condemnation from former generals. Is the nation's moral role in the world at risk?

Former Secretary of State and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Colin Powell joins me exclusively next.

Plus: Turning point? More video surfaces showing brutal attacks by police officers, and raising questions about what is not caught on tape.

REP. KAREN BASS (D-CA): It is very difficult policy-wise, legally- wise to hold police officers accountable.

TAPPER: But what can be done? Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus Congresswoman Karen Bass joins me next.


TAPPER: Hello. I'm Jake Tapper in Washington, where the state of our union is reckoning.

Tens of thousands of Americans taking to the streets Saturday, protesting peacefully for racial justice, filling cities and towns across the country, and, frankly, citizens filling the streets around the world.

In Washington, D.C., thousands of protesters gathered around the White House, where the mayor of Washington, D.C., Muriel Bowser, had the street painted with the words "Black Lives Matter."

This weekend, the images were mostly peaceful, showing people gathering, holding up signs, kneeling, not the chaos and violence that we saw in some of the first few nights.

President Trump is in Washington this weekend in a newly fortified White House, as demonstrators call for justice. The president kept his response focused on his own message, tweeting nothing about racial justice, but instead declaring -- quote -- "law and order," and claiming that D.C.'s peaceful protests over the brutal murder of George Floyd by police officers was -- quote -- "much smaller than anticipated."

This after a week in which the president's threats to dominate American streets drew unprecedented condemnation from top-level former military leaders, including his former Secretary of Defense General James Mattis.

Joining me now, in a STATE OF THE UNION exclusive, former Secretary of State and former Joint Chiefs Chairman General Colin Powell.

General, thanks so much for joining us. We really appreciate it.

Let's start right now with the extraordinary comments this week from several top former military officials, including former Secretary and General Jim Mattis, condemning President Trump's actions against protesters, his desire to have 10,000 active U.S. military in the streets of this nation.

The president's former Chief of Staff General Kelly said he agreed with Mattis. Retired General John Allen says the president's threat to deploy U.S. military against American citizens -- quote -- "may well signal the beginning of the end of the American experiment."

Take a listen to what Allen told me Thursday.


LT. GEN. JOHN ALLEN (RET.), FORMER U.S. FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN COMMANDER: I never believed that the Constitution was under threat until recently. And I have concerns about that. We should all be attentive right now to how the rule of law is being administered in this country.


TAPPER: What is your response to what has been going on the last week, General?

COLIN POWELL, FORMER U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE: Well, first, thanks very much, Jake.

I'm very happy with what General Allen said and all the other generals, admirals are saying and diplomats are saying. We have a Constitution. And we have to follow that Constitution.

And the president has drifted away from it. I'm so proud of what these generals and admirals have done and others have done.

But, you know, I didn't write a letter because I made my point with respect to Trump's performance some four years ago, when he was running for office. And when I heard some of the things he was saying, it made it clear that I could not possibly vote for this individual.

The first thing that troubled me is the whole birthers movement. And birthers movement had to do with the fact that the president of the United States, President Obama, was a black man. That was part of it.

And then I was deeply troubled by the way in which he was going around insulting everybody, insulting Gold Star mothers, insulting John McCain, insulting immigrants -- and I'm the son of immigrants -- insulting anybody who dared to speak against him.

And that is dangerous for our democracy. It is dangerous for our country. And I think what we're seeing now, the most massive protest movement I have ever seen in my life, I think this suggests that the country is getting wise to this, and we're not going to put up with it anymore.


TAPPER: And former Defense Secretary General Mattis said -- quote -- "Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people, does not even pretend to try. Instead, he tries to divide us."

It sounds like you agree with that.

POWELL: You have to agree with it.

I mean, look at what he has done to divide us. Forget immigrants, let's put up a fence in Mexico. Forget this; let's do this. He is insulting us throughout the world. He is being offensive to our allies. He's not taking into account what our foreign policy is and how it is being affected by his actions.

So, yes, I agree with General Allen. I agree with all of my former colleagues.

And, remember, I have been out of the military now for 25 years. And so I'm watching them closely, because they all were junior officers when I left, and I'm proud of what they're doing. I'm proud that they were willing to take the risk of speaking honesty and speaking truth to those who are not speaking the truth.

TAPPER: We have seen tens of thousands of protesters taking to the streets this week in opposition to racial injustice and police brutality.

What has been your personal reaction to this moment? Do you think that the country is in something of a turning point?

POWELL: We are in turning points. I mean, the Republican Party, the president, thought they were sort of

immune; they can go say anything they wanted. And even more troubling, the Congress would just sit there and not in any way resist what the president is doing.

And the one word I have to use with respect to what he's been doing for the last several years is a word I would never have used before, I never would have used with any of the four presidents I have worked for: He lies. He lies about things. And he gets away with it, because people will not hold him accountable.

And so, while we're watching him, we need to watch our Congress.

I watched the senators heading into the chamber the other day after all this broke, with the reporters saying, what do you have to say, what do you to say?

They had nothing to say. They would not react.

And so we're not a country of just the president. We have a Congress. We have a Supreme Court. But, most of all, we have the people of the United States, the ones who vote, the ones who vote him in and the ones who vote him out.

I couldn't vote for him in '96 (sic), and I certainly cannot in any way support President Trump this year.

TAPPER: So, yes, I know you didn't vote for him in 2016.

I assume, based on the fact that you approved Joe Biden when Senator -- then Senator Obama picked him to be his running mate in 2008, I assume you're going to be voting for Joe Biden?

POWELL: I'm very close to Joe Biden in a social matter and on a political matter. I have worked with him for 35, 40 years.

And he is now the candidate, and I will be voting for him.

TAPPER: Let me ask you. During the Rodney King riots in 1992, you counseled then President George H.W. Bush on a speech he was about to give.

You wrote about this very movingly in your book.

You wrote -- quote -- "I read it with dismay." This is the first copy of the speech. "I thought the tone was all wrong. Yes, the rioting was criminal, and law and order had to be restored, but the violence had not incubated in isolation. It had deep social roots. The speech, as it stood, recognized only the former and ignored the latter."

"Do the law and order bit," you said, "but there is language here that is only going to fan the flames. Turn down the heat, I suggested. Get some reconciliation into the president's message."

And President George H.W. Bush did take your advice back in 1992. He talked about how he was disappointed that the cops who beat Rodney King had been acquitted, and on and on.

President Trump has been emphasizing law and order. Do you think that he is talking enough about reconciliation and empathy and what the people in the streets are calling for in his message in any way?

POWELL: No, he's not in any way that I recognize. He always is shooting toward his base.

I remember the Bush conversation very, very vividly, because, at the same time, we had to bring law and order back into the streets. And we worked with the state of California, where it happened in Los Angeles, the riots.

And the president called me and said: "We may have to do something."

I said: "Mr. President, go to the governor. The governor has the National Guard. And if the National Guard can't do it, then you come back to me with a decision, and we will send in federal troops."

And we did. And we brought things under control rather quickly.

But the president always followed the law, followed the Constitution, worked with the community. And we brought stability, finally.

It was a bad scene, but we got over it rather quickly.

TAPPER: Are you going -- are you willing to campaign for Joe Biden for president?

POWELL: Well, I haven't been asked, and I don't think I will be. Campaigning is not my strong suit.


And I don't -- I will be speaking for him, but I don't plan to make campaign trips.

TAPPER: We should note that, in addition to the role that you have assumed in American society, you also came in third in the Electoral College in 2016 because some rogue electors voted for you.

So, you're actually the third-place finisher in 2016, even though you didn't even campaign in any way then.

POWELL: That is true. I had to read it in a newspaper. And I called my wife: "Can this be so?"

And it was three electors in the state of Washington. And it was amusing. And I have clipped out the article, and I have clipped out the instructions that the House of Representatives put on there in their census. And it is now in my library at the National War College. So, it was charming.

The president kind of misrepresents what the final count was. I got three. I beat everybody else behind me. And it was amusing. But that's all there was to it. But three electors felt that they had the authority to change what they were planning to do. I think they have been fined for it.

But it is a symbol of the kind of system we have, a democratic system that our fathers thought through rather, rather carefully and thoughtfully. And now we will see how it works this year.

I think this year is going to be a different kind of year. We have done things that have offended just about everybody in the world. Our friends are distraught with us. We are down on NATO. We are cutting more troops out of Germany. We have done away with our contributions to the World Health Organization. We're not that happy with the United Nations.

And just about everywhere you go, you will find this kind of disdain for American foreign policy that is not in our interests. And we have to get on top of this. We have to start acting seriously.

How can you say that we're going to take troops out of Germany, but we're also thinking of putting more in, and we're going to create a new headquarters in Germany? That was a headquarters I commanded 25 years ago.

We have got to make up our mind of what we're doing, but it seems to all come out of the White House, without consultation with our Joint Chiefs of Staff. This is not the way the system is supposed to work.

And until the president realizes that he needs to understand the Constitution, understand the restraints on him and his authority, and talk openly with his military authorities about what is the right thing to do, and not fire them when he doesn't get the answer he likes.

TAPPER: I want to ask you about foreign policy, as a former secretary of state.

The Chinese government is under a lot of scrutiny for how it handled the coronavirus pandemic early on, as well as its recent anti- democratic crackdown in Hong Kong.

Two years ago, you said we shouldn't create a cold war situation with the Chinese. Are we in one, do you think?

POWELL: We're in a bad situation right now, because we're fighting over things that I don't think we need to fight over.

The Chinese did not do well at the very beginning of this virus crisis. But, at the same time, it was our intelligence community that was telling the administration, telling the president, beginning in December, through January, February, March, that we had this.

And the president wouldn't respond to it. He kept trying to see if there's somebody else to blame. And so, in order to get out of this, we are now blaming the Chinese for everything.

Our relationship with the Chinese during my time as chairman or my time as secretary of state was a healthy one. When they did things we didn't like, we told them about it. But, more often, we were speaking to them as fellow individuals and a government that we could speak to.

I did a lot with the Chinese. Disagreed with them when they had to be disagreed with, but at the same time respected them and listened to what their point of view was right now, then.

And, right now, we ought to be listening carefully to what they're doing in Hong Kong, and we should not take action that just infuriates the situation and makes the situation worse.

TAPPER: Let's talk more -- continue to talk more broadly about the role of the United States in the world.

The editorial board of "The Financial Times," a leading newspaper in the U.K., wrote an editorial titled "America's Battered Moral Standing."

And they wrote, in part -- quote -- "Donald Trump is handing the world's autocrats a propaganda coup. Never before has a U.S. president demonized in blanket terms those protesting against injustice. If China were to send its tanks into Hong Kong, would the world listen to what the U.S. Senate thought?"

Do you agree that our moral standing as Americans is being battered because of the way -- the attitude President Trump has, not only to our allies, but to citizens protesting peacefully?

POWELL: Our moral standing has been demonized by what not only the world is thinking, but they're just looking at us. They're looking at these demonstrations. They see that these are demonstrations that are justified and not to be criticized.


They see that George, as the president called him, was murdered. And the president comes out and says: Well, George is looking down from heaven and blessing what I'm doing.

How can you expect anybody to believe things like that?

That's the kind of language we see coming from overseas, and the overseas clients that we have, our friends and some of our adversaries, looking at how we're taking care of our people. Are we insulting everybody? Are we going after immigrants? They don't understand this.

I'm the son of immigrants. I wouldn't be here if my parents couldn't come here in banana boats in the 1920s.

This is America. This is who we are. And the world doesn't understand.

TAPPER: President Trump said this week that it is common sense for Russia to be allowed to rejoin the G7 after Russia was expelled after it annexed Crimea in 2014.

What do you think of that? Should Russia be allowed to join -- to rejoin the G7?

POWELL: Let me answer it this way.

Why is he making this decision all by himself at the same time that Russia has been listed as one of our four enemies that we have to be dealing with?

In reality, they're not. They're not one of our four enemies. As one Israeli prime minister said to me in a very simple way: "Colin, we have lost our enemies. Now all we have are problems. We have problems."

And so we have a situation where the Pentagon has identified four enemies, China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Not one of them is about to attack us right now. We're spending huge sums. We need to get to those problems in Afghanistan, Somalia, elsewhere, and start to help solve those.

And so the world is listening. And what are they hearing? They're hearing this, we don't like immigrants. We don't want them in. Let's kick them out. We're hearing that we don't like so many of our ethnic people, the ethnic slices that America represents. We don't like that.

And they speak out against it. It's our strength. It's been our strength for 200 years.

And we ought to stick up for our immigration policies. We ought to stick up for our minorities. We ought to put more money into lower- income classes of Americans. We need to get our kids educated, white and black, all of them get educated like I was educated in the public school system of New York. And I'm now in a graduate -- graduate of a public college in New York, and have been rather successful with this public school education.

That's the kind of education all of our young people should have. And it is a major priority in my lifetime and among my friends.

TAPPER: Last question for you, sir. And we really do appreciate your time today.

There are a lot of independent voters out there, or moderates, Democrats and Republicans, who might be concerned that the Democratic Party is drifting too far to the left. And they hear your comments about President Trump.

Why is it so important to you that President Trump not be reelected?

POWELL: Because I think he has been not an effective president.

He lies all the time. He began lying the day of inauguration, when we got into an argument about the size of the crowd that was there. People are writing books about his favorite thing of lying.

And I don't think that's in our interest. I didn't vote for him in 2006 (sic). The situation for 2020, in my mind, in my life, has gotten worse. Every American citizen has to sit down, think it through, and make a

decision on their own. Don't listen to the -- everybody out there. Don't read every newspaper. Think it through. Use your common sense and say, is this good for my country, before you say, this is good for me.

We have a lot of people who are earning great wealth. And when I have talked to some of them, they said: Well, gee, the economy is doing great. I'm doing great.

The economy exists for all of the American people, not just you doing great or me doing better.

So, what we have to do now is reach out to the whole people. Watch these demonstrations, watch these protests, and, rather than curse them, embrace them to see what it is we have to do to get out of the situation that we find ourselves in now.

We're America. We're Americans. We can do this. We have the ability to do it, and we ought to do it. Make America not just great, but strong and great for all Americans, not just a couple.

TAPPER: Retired General Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs, former secretary of state, we're honored with your presence today.

Thank you so much, sir.

POWELL: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: President Trump has made some controversial comments about George Floyd this week.

The secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development spoke to the president about the unrest following Floyd's death.

Dr. Ben Carson joins me next.

Stay with us.



TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION. I'm Jake Tapper.

President Trump sparked outrage and criticism this week when he made his way off of White House property to pose in front of historic Lafayette Church, holding up a Bible, after that area had been cleared of mostly peaceful protesters.

Afterward, the president spoke with my next guest about the unrest across America following the murder of George Floyd.

Joining me now, the secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Dr. Ben Carson. Secretary Carson, thanks so much for joining us. We always appreciate



TAPPER: We have a lot to get to.

But, first, I just spoke with retired General Colin Powell, who said, the president has drifted away from the Constitution. He said, the president is dangerous for our democracy, the president lies all the time, he could not possibly vote for him.

Powell served three Republican presidents. I want to give you an opportunity to respond.


BEN CARSON, HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT SECRETARY: Well, you know, I don't generally, as you probably know this, get into demonizing other people.

I would much rather talk about policies and about solutions.

So, you know, I admire General Powell. And he certainly is entitled to his opinion and the way that he wants to conduct himself. But I generally don't find it particularly useful to demonize other people.

TAPPER: This has been a really tough two weeks in this country. We saw tens of thousands of Americans on the streets yesterday protesting, almost entirely peacefully yesterday, racial injustice.

What has been your reaction to the murder of George Floyd and to the protests we have seen in his name?

CARSON: Well, I think, like just about everyone else, I was horrified to see the videos of that blatant and callous murder taking place, and almost as horrified to see the other officers just standing there and not stopping this.

As far as the protests are concerned, I'm very proud of the people who engage in peaceful protest. That's one of the pillars, one of the foundations of our nation. And we should always protect that.

It is those who have taken advantage of that, hidden behind it, destroyed the livelihoods of the very people that they claim to be in favor of, those are the things that are particularly bothersome.

And, you know, as far as, you know, Black Lives Matters is concerned, I hope that maybe this is the beginning of being concerned about the many young black men who will be killed in the streets of Chicago this weekend. We need to be just as concerned about them as we are about anybody else.

And until we begin to manifest that kind of concern, I don't think we are quite where we need to be yet. TAPPER: This week, you called for everyone to just take a step back

on both sides -- I'm quoting you now. "Don't use every opportunity to criticize someone else and to try to make them into the demon and just hurl insults at each other. That's not helpful."

You just talked about how you don't like to demonize people.

Three days after you said that, though, the president retweeted a video clip that featured conservative personalities talking about George Floyd's past drug use, his arrest record.

One of them said -- quote -- "The fact that George Floyd has been held up as a martyr sickens me. George Floyd was not a good person" -- unquote.

I know that you didn't retweet this, but the president did. Does that help the nation heal?

CARSON: What will help the nation heal is if we will engage in dialogue together.

Let's not make the solution be a Democrat solution or a Republican solution. Let's make it be an American solution and recognize that our country is extraordinary. This is the destination country for other people. People form caravans trying to get in here. Other places, they're trying to get out of. There is a reason for that.

And we need to make sure that we preserve that. No one from the outside can bring us down, not China, not Russia, not Iran. No one can. But we can destroy ourselves internally. There is no question about that. A house divided against itself cannot stand. We, the American people, are not each other's enemies. We must be smart enough to recognize that and not allow ourselves to be manipulated into thinking that we hate each other and destroying ourselves.

TAPPER: I guess -- I mean, I understand what you're saying, and I don't disagree with anything.

But you're calling for healing. You're calling for understanding. You're calling for people to listen to each other. And President Trump is retweeting a video in which people are attacking the character of a man, an unarmed black man, who was murdered in the streets by a white police officer while three other officers stood there, which you said horrified you.

It horrified me. It horrified probably everyone who saw it, within reason.

And doesn't it hurt the country and this idea that we need to have dialogues and conversations and respect each other when the president is sharing and in some cases offering incendiary statements?

CARSON: I believe you're going to be hearing from the president this week on this topic in some detail.

And I would ask you maybe to reserve judgment until after that time. TAPPER: Let's talk about policy.

Do you think systemic racism is a problem in law enforcement agencies in the United States?

CARSON: Let's say this.

I grew up at a time when there was real systemic racism. I remember, as an eighth grade student, I was the only black student. I got the highest academic achievement. And the teacher got up and berated the other students they weren't trying hard enough because a black kid was number one.


And that kind of thing was not uncommon when I was growing up. That kind of thing is very uncommon now.

Are there still racists around? Absolutely. There were yesterday, there are today, and there will be tomorrow. But that doesn't mean that we shouldn't fight it.

And this is an opportune time. Right now, people are concentrating on this. We can't let this moment slip away. We need to deal with some of the issues in the police departments, but it's -- it's -- this is an easy time to do it.

We have policemen who are rogue. The vast majority of policemen are wonderful. But you have some who are rogue. And they can go from one jurisdiction to another jurisdiction, and nobody does anything about it.

They can be wearing body cameras. There are things that can b. Done, but we need to come to mutual solutions about this. And now is the time to do it. Everybody is concentrating on it. Let's not let this moment slip away.

At the same time, we must be very vigilant about these groups of anarchists who destroy the livelihoods of the very people that they claim to be trying to help.

Let's not be fooled. Let's not be seduced into accepting silly things that make absolutely no sense because we want to honor somebody. But let's just make sure that we think this thing through. Think about the consequences.

You want to abolish police departments? Are you kidding me? What happens if you do that? Everybody goes out and arms themselves. They start hiring vigilante groups to protect them. We have total chaos going on. You know, that makes absolutely no sense.

TAPPER: The country has talked a lot about -- this week about the proper way to protest. You have talked about it too.

The NFL admitted on Friday that they -- quote -- "were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest" -- unquote.

But take a listen to what President Trump had to say about NFL players peacefully protesting. This is at a 2017 rally in Alabama.


TRUMP: Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, get that son of a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) off the field right now? Out. He's fired. He's fired!



TAPPER: The president reiterated Friday that he still opposes those who protest police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem.

You have said you support peaceful protests. Do you support NFL players exercising that right to peacefully protest by kneeling during the anthem?

CARSON: Have you ever seen two people in a vehement argument, and they're talking about completely different things, and they're talking past each other, and they're not able to come to a solution?

That's what this is all about. There are some people who are talking about the flag, who are talking about our veterans, who are talking about people who sacrifice their lives, who are talking about our police officers, and there are others who are talking about injustice in the system.

And they're arguing past each other. That's the problem.

TAPPER: I don't disagree with what you're saying. And I don't particularly personally have a policy point on this.

But what do you think about the right of NFL players to do this? I mean, the president called them sons of bitches -- you just heard the clip -- for taking a knee and peacefully protesting police brutality.

That's what they were trying to do. And, in fact, Colin Kaepernick originally would sit during the national anthem. And then a veteran who was upset about it and Colin Kaepernick had a dialogue about this, a former Green Beret, and they came up with the idea of Kaepernick taking a knee, because that was respectful, because that's a way that people pray.

And yet the president called Kaepernick and anyone else who engages in that kind peaceful protest a son of a bitch.

CARSON: My -- my personal feeling is, if those players were to come out and say, we love our nation, we are patriots, we love our flag, we honor the memory of those who died to give us our freedom, but we are protesting some of the brutality that has occurred, and that's why we're doing this, I think it would solve the problem.

And I suggest that they do that.

TAPPER: Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Dr. Ben Carson, always a pleasure to have you on.

Hope we can have you on again sometime soon. Thanks for joining us.

CARSON: Thank you, Jake.

TAPPER: Protesters across the country are demanding change.

A look at what can be done to fight inequities in policing.The head of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congresswoman Karen Bass, joins me next.



TAPPER: Welcome back to STATE OF THE UNION . I'm Jake Tapper.

Across the nation, calls are growing for police departments to be defunded or disbanded.

Take a look at this moment in Minneapolis, when those demands were put to the mayor, and he said no.


UNIDENTIFIED PROTESTERS: Go home, Jacob! Go home! Go home, Jacob! Go home! Go home, Jacob! Go home!


TAPPER: The chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Democratic Congresswoman Karen Bass of California, joins us now.

Congresswoman, thanks so much for joining us.

We saw incredible images yesterday, thousands of people peacefully protesting across the nation. You're a Los Angeles native. You witnessed the Rodney King riots firsthand. How does this moment compare to what you experienced and saw 28 years ago?


BASS: Well, first of all, this moment is incredibly inspiring, to see people all across the country saying, enough is enough, and also to see the multiracial character.

In many cities, you look at the -- you look at the protesters, and there are very few African-Americans. So, the solidarity with what is happening in our community and have been happening for a very long time is very inspiring. And I am hopeful that it helps us get the legislation passed that we need to do.

TAPPER: We have seen other disturbing videos from the last few days, including one showing police violence in Buffalo, when two officers shoved a 75-year-old man to the ground, which resulted in a serious injury for him.

In Tacoma, a man died after being forcibly restrained by police in March. In Atlanta, a woman broke her clavicle after a police officer body-slammed her to the ground.

I understand that the Congressional Black Caucus, which you chair, is going to present legislation of potential ways to try to stop these kinds of problems.

Can you give us an idea of what you're talking about?

BASS: Yes, absolutely.

Tomorrow, we will introduce a bill that covers several areas. One is police accountability. It was shameful what happened to that man. Not only did they push him down, but they walked right past him, and then wouldn't even let an officer render aid.

Our bill that we're going to be introducing tomorrow, Justice in Policing Act, would cover those.

So, in other words, those officers shouldn't -- when they saw him push the officer down -- push the protester down, they should have rendered aid. The other officers should have intervened and said, that shouldn't happen. Those are the type of practices that we want to see ended.

And with the legislation, with accountability, and with the transparency and the emphasis on training, we believe that we will be able to address those type of situations. It is time for police culture in many departments to change. And we believe that the legislation will make a major step forward in that direction.

TAPPER: You will have to get it through the Senate in order to for it to become law.

Do you have any Republican allies in the Senate on board with the legislation?

BASS: Well, let me tell you that we are introducing the bills together.

So, Senator Harris, Senator Booker are taking the lead over in the Senate. They have been working on that side. And we have work to do in the House as well.

But you know what? I think we're in a real moment in our country, the passion that the people are displaying. I'm so glad now that the protesting is peaceful. It has been every day. It has been across the country. I think that it is going to lay the basis for the momentum for us to bring about the change that we need to do.

I mean, let me give you an example. Right now, there is no way to track officers that are problematic. So, the officer that killed George Floyd, if he was not arrested, he could have simply gone to another jurisdiction and been hired.

We need to look at the training that is done with law enforcement. We need to do things in accountability, transparency and training that we believe would make a big difference.

That officer that killed Tamir Rice, who was 12 years old...

TAPPER: Right.

BASS: ... actually had been fired from another department.

TAPPER: That's right. He had been fired from the Independence, Ohio, Police Department, and lied about it on his record when he applied for the, I think, Cuyahoga or Cleveland Police Department.

BASS: Right. Exactly, which is why we need a registry.

TAPPER: But, just to translate, it sounds like -- it sounds like you don't have any -- it sounds like you don't have any Republican allies in the Senate as of now.

I mean, it is early yet, but that's -- it sounds like that's what you're saying.

BASS: Well -- well, I believe that there would be Senate allies.

I'm not over there, so I'm not sure. Rand Paul is one who had been an ally before. Once he gets past the lynching issue, hopefully, he will be an ally again.

But I will tell you that, in the House, I had a meeting the other day with the Problem Solvers Caucus. And that's a bipartisan caucus. Now, that was before we had the bill. We're going to go back and talk to them now.

But I found there was a lot of interest, there was a lot of support. I found out that one of my Republican colleagues was a former police officer. Another one's son is a police officer. They were appalled by what happened to George Floyd. And they believe that no profession wants to have bad apples.

And there also needs to be standards, national standards for policing. We need to look at the best practices. I think that there's a lot of things that we can do.

But this bill, I believe, is a bold piece of legislation.


BASS: It is transformative.

I have been in Congress 10 years. Never seen anything like it.

TAPPER: So, Congresswoman, you're talking about reforming police, but, as you know, a lot of people on the left, including CBC member Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, are talking about defunding police department, disbanding police departments.


What do you make of those calls?

BASS: So, you know what I think is really needed?

And I think that part of the movement around defunding is really about how we spend resources in our country. And I think far more resources need to be spent in communities to address a number of problems.

Now, I don't believe that you should disband police departments. But I do think that, in cities, in states, we need to look at how we are spending the resources and invest more in our communities.

So, one of the things that we have in the bill is a way to provide grants to community-based organizations around the country, so people can begin to say, what is public safety in our community? What do we want to see? Maybe this is an opportunity to reenvision public safety.

TAPPER: Congresswoman Karen Bass, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, thanks so much for coming on the show today. We really appreciate it.

BASS: Thank you.

TAPPER: Coming up, police departments respond to brutal incidents caught on tape, but are some of their answers making things worse? We'll talk about that next.



TAPPER: The American people have been doing a lot of soul searching after the shocking cellphone video of a white Minneapolis police officer killing an unarmed black man, George Floyd, prompted protests about racial inequities in American society, including police brutality.

Amid this dialogue, it is shocking to see images of police abusing their power against peaceful citizens, exercising their constitutional rights. And then to hear officials deny the violence that we saw with our own eyes.

On Monday U.S. Park Police cleared Lafayette Park in front of the White House where mostly peaceful protesters and news media had gathered. If you look here, you see an officer attacking unprovoked an Australian news crew that was broadcasting live, doing its job peacefully. You see an officer hitting the cameraman twice with his shield. And then as the crew begins to run, another officer hits them with a baton.

The Park Police Union responded to the shocking video by claiming the crew -- quote -- "may have fallen," and they blamed a -- quote -- "lack of readily identifiable journalist markings." But we can see what happened with our own eyes. That's clearly not true.

Outraged, the Australian government called for an investigation into the incident. The two officers have now been placed on administrative duties.

In Buffalo, New York on Thursday a 75-year-old man was violently knocked over by an officer and left bleeding on the sidewalk as officers stormed by. Again, this police department's first instinct was to lie. They claimed the man -- quote -- "tripped and fell." But with video evidence outraging the public, the department admitted the facts. And two officers were suspended without pay and now have been charged with assault in the second degree.

The prosecutor saying that most police are honorable and professional, but he's just doing his job. Noting that he's also prosecuting 39 protesters.

In Philadelphia a college student was arrested for allegedly pushing an officer off a bicycle, according to the student's attorney. But here's the video. The college kid is the young man with the long ponytail and the Eagles jersey. He seems to be trying to separate a policeman and a protester, and then he tries to get away, and then he's viciously beaten. He needed 10 staples and 10 sutures in his head. The officer now faces charges of aggravated assault and more.

Now, of course, there are anarchists and criminals committing horrific acts of violence. And we have reported on them and we will continue to. But their crimes do not excuse other crimes. And, frankly, the American people have a higher standard of behavior for police officers who work for us to keep us safe, and are essentially given a license to kill.

What are the American people to make of these images of officers brutally beating peaceful journalists and protesters and then lying about it? It makes people wonder, where would we be if that brave 17- year-old girl in Minneapolis had not filmed the murder of George Floyd. Would Minneapolis police be denying it?

One might expect the incidents we witnessed would have drawn condemnation from fellow officers. But instead in Buffalo, 57 officers resigned from that tactical team in solidarity with the Buffalo cops who were criminally charged. Those cops were even applauded as they left the courthouse.

In Philadelphia, cops are said to be contemplating calling in sick tomorrow with the blue flu. It's inexplicable. Many Americans want to believe these images of a police force. Officers who are honest and part of the community, that these images are representative. But because of the prevalence of cellphone cameras, we are now all able to see the abuse with our own eyes.


And just these three cases this week, we know the claims from the police departments and the unions, the initial claims, were a lie. Why would any decent police officer stand with that? Before we go today, a little joy to brighten your Sunday. We want to welcome the newest member of the STATE OF THE UNION family. Landon Bear Johnson, the beautiful new son of senior CNN producer Christie Johnson, her husband Tillman. What a beautiful kid.

Thank you for spending your Sunday morning with us.

"FAREED ZAKARIA GPS" starts next.